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Situated in the centre of the city of Ferrara, you cannot miss this great medieval castle which is surrounded by a large moat. The Castello Estense is a large block with four corner towers.

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During my 2 day stay in Ferrara we visited this fairy tale castle. We thought we might have a short visit, but were soon rapt by the history and magnificence of the place itself and were inside for an entire morning. There is almost too much to take in on one visit: there is so much to see and read. I’d like to give a special mention to the quality of the information boards in English. The writing, the explanations, the translation were all superb – and the information boards were at the perfect height.
Highlights for us included the dungeons, the ‘archaeology room’, the kitchens (and the explanations about the role of the Scalco), the frescoes (made accessible by vast, expertly placed mirrors), the documents, maps and illuminated books.

It is very interesting to get different aspects of how life was like in the medieval days outside Florence (and the Medici’s). The Este family was the ruler of Ferrara and this was their home. The castle is not too big and exhausting so well worth a visit. Besides, it’s a stunning building in itself. It was absolutely worth the visit. The ticket price is 8€ for adults, plus 2 € if you wish to see the Torre dei Leoni as well with great view to the city.

This fabulous building and the exhibits give you a real understanding of the importance of the Este family to Ferrara, as well as insights into life in the Renaissance (and earlier) in Italy.

The Castle Estense is the most imposing of Ferrara’s Renaissance buildings, worthy of being the city’s symbol. Surrounding this huge structure is a moat filled with pea-soup green water, which is aerated – fortunately. The city tourist office is inside, just off the courtyard decorated with cannonballs.


Touring the castle involves clambering up rough brick herringbone ramps. To access the prison, which is one large room, we had to stoop through a doorway less than five feet high.


We got a good view from the deck, which was just beyond a conservatory where potted orange trees were already bearing ripe fruit.


Castello Estense is an absolute ‘must visit’ when you are in Ferrara and is at the very heart of Ferrara’s history throughout the ages. If you want to know about Ferrara, visit here first, it is all there!

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